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Arson kills Maryland rector: The Church of England Newspaper, December 13, 2013 December 18, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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A bizarre church fire has left two dead including the rector of St Paul’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Ocean City, Maryland in an incident police describe as arson.

On 26 Nov 2013 a 56-year old man, subsequently identified as John Sterner, entered the church offices located in the ground floor of the parish rectory. Witnesses told police that Sterner’s clothing was on fire and he was screaming for help.

Sterner grabbed a church volunteer and set her clothing on fire. The fire spread then spread to the building. The volunteer was able to escape the building, but firefighters found parish rector the Rev. David Dingwell, apparently unconscious from smoke inhalation, inside the building. Sterner died at the scene of the fire and the two other victims were taken to hospital.

However, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, the Rt. Rev. James Shand, reported Mr. Dingwell died later that day from his injuries.

Police report Stern was unknown to the members of the church and are investigating how he came to be covered in an accelerant fluid. Suicide is suspected as the motive for the crime.

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